Tanner Mordecai provides an exceptional track record
Originally, quarterback Tanner Mordecai from Waco, Texas committed to the University of Oklahoma in 2018. However, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and Spencer Rattler prompted a change of scenery for Mordecai in search of playing time. Following the 2020 season, Mordecai landed at Southern Methodist University and turned into an immediate draft prospect.
Across 24 games in two seasons, Mordecai recorded 72 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, and over 7000 passing yards. Mordecai also managed to lead his team to 15 wins, with arguably his best season coming to a bitter end in 2021. The Wasabi Fenway Bowl was supposed to showcase SMU and Virginia, however it was canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite an unaccomplished career at SMU, Mordecai and his offense played rather well. In 2022, SMU averaged 37.23 points per game while throwing for 316.69 yards on average. What seriously held SMU back, however, was their defense. In 2022, the defense allowed 33.85 points per game for a grand total of 440 on the season. The offense scored 484 points during the season.
The Badgers begin the final chapter for the senior
College isn’t always the glitz and glamour of the extremely successful teams. Tanner Mordecai has had to battle to get onto the field and prove himself throughout his collegiate career. Someone else on the Badgers’ staff has also had to prove himself during his climb throughout the college coaching ranks.
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo got his start at Sam Houston State in 2014. When he left in 2016, the team finished 12-1 while averaging 547 offensive yards per game. Longo had a short stint at Ole Miss, where he again averaged over 500 yards per game. At Ole Miss, Longo was also instrumental in the recruitment of Matt Corral. Longo left the SEC for North Carolina in 2019 and has since developed Sam Howell and Drake Maye into high-level quarterbacks.
Longo is well known for his dynamic offense that leans on efficient quarterback play. Mordecai is coming from two air raid offenses in his past, to an evolving school that will implement shades of the same. Longo is not afraid to pass the ball and utilize spread formations. However, Mordecai will also get the chance to showcase his decision making in Longo’s offense.
Is Mordecai up to the task for the Badgers?
The look of Wisconsin football has changed drastically in the last few months. The Badgers have ushered out their old ways and began to institute a young core of football “students”. Both Luke Fickell and Phil Longo have been praised for their intelligence and willingness to learn about the nuances of the game. The environment that is brewing in Madison is a perfect fit for transfer quarterback Tanner Mordecai.
Similar to the quarterback situation at the University of North Carolina, Nick Evers will likely sit behind Tanner Mordecai. Phil Longo took his time to develop Howell and Maye into quick thinking quarterbacks. This should be the case for the Badgers’ quarterback duo as well. With the right time and development, Mordecai should be able to pick up where he left off with SMU.
Russell Wilson threw for 33 touchdowns in 2011 for the Badgers. Alex Hornibrook threw for 25 touchdowns in 2017, which is the second highest in Badgers history. Tanner Mordecai has done so in each of the last two seasons. Now, given a more skilled offense and coaching staff, he should be able to replicate the success he has had.